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Man gets jail in Sauk County rape case

September 25, 2018

In exchange for his plea to a lesser offense Monday, Sauk County prosecutors dismissed a rape charge against a Kenosha man.

During a hearing in Sauk County Circuit Court, Assistant District Attorney Rick Spoentgen said he believed the victim’s claim that the intercourse she had with the defendant, 19-year-old Richard A. Issleb, was not consensual.

“However, given the information available to the state if this matter were to go to trial, I did not believe that I could prove it,” Spoentgen said. “Thus, I didn’t think it was appropriate to take it to trial.”

Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock accepted the joint recommendation of the prosecution and defense, and withheld sentencing in lieu of Issleb’s successful completion of plea deal terms.

Issleb must spend two years on probation, beginning with a 30-day jail stay with work-release privileges. He also must undergo sex offender treatment and have no contact with the victim or her family. He will not be required to register as a sex offender.

If he does not fulfill terms of the deal, he could wind up back in court facing a possible nine-month prison sentence.

Issleb was 18 years old at the time of the incident, which occurred in the city of Reedsburg, and the girl was 17. In Facebook messages sent shortly after the encounter, he told the girl the sex was consensual, and tried to discourage her from reporting it to law enforcement.

The girl later told police she repeatedly said “no,” but that Issleb persisted. Weeks later, prosecutors charged Issleb with felony second-degree sexual assault and one misdemeanor count of having intercourse with a child older than 16.

In court Monday, Issleb pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the felony.

Screnock denied Issleb’s request to have the case erased from his record upon successful completion of the deal. He called the private messages between Issleb and the victim “deeply troubling,” and said the plea deal already allowed Issleb to escape the most serious consequences.

“I am a fan of using the tool of expunction in an appropriate case,” Screnock said. “I don’t see this as an appropriate case.”

Defense attorney Peter Masana of Baraboo said his client maintains that the encounter was not forced. He asked for possible expunction so that Issleb “doesn’t have to move forward with the rest of his life having a sexual assault on his record.”

Masana said the misdemeanor conviction likely will make it difficult for Issleb to find jobs in the future. He said prospective employers likely will see the conviction on the state’s online court records system, but are not likely to look deeper into the situation and learn the age difference between the two teens was only six months.

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